Time To Leave?

Question:

I’ve been working for a large corporation for the last 6 years. Despite stellar performance reviews and raises I have asked for a title change but didn’t receive it because my boss hasn’t received one, so I didn’t push it.

I’ve accomplished great work for the company made them millions of dollars and saved them millions of dollars which is all documented in my reviews. 2 weeks ago my boss told me she was promoting a coworker above me because she wanted less people reporting to her.

He is 10 years my junior, less educated (I have my MBA), and two years less time at the company. She told me to view it as a structural change only and that it wasn’t a demotion but this guy has taken over and keeping notes of everything I’ve done like I’m about to leave. I’m humiliated and physically sick from it. I will not quit after six years of service. He obviously is pushing me to leave but I will not allow him to push me out.

My boss should let me go with severance rather than humiliate me like she’s done. What can I do to remove myself from the company and get severance?

Signed,

Want Out


Answer:

Dear Want Out:

I can certainly imagine how angry and hurt you are! Your core question is about how you can get out with a severance package. For that…and for other reasons, you need to talk to someone in HR.

Here are two ways to consider that: If you have done such a good job it may be that higher management would not want you to leave and is not in favor of having someone put over you. If you talk to HR you could ask them if there are criteria for promotion and if they were aware of the decision.

Every large company works differently, but it could be that you can enlist HR to help you based on your manager not taking action appropriately.

On the other hand, as hurtful as this might be at the time, you might find out that your manager had the support of those above her and agreed to the change. If you think that is the case you may want to give serious thought to what could be the cause of that opinion. Could you have missed hints along the way that could have prevented this? I don’t know, but you might be able to figure that out.

If that is the case, HR might be willing to help you get severance pay and leave, just to get it over with quickly if the bosses want to move someone else in at your expense.

(That sounds very harsh, but it’s something to consider.)

On the other hand, are you sure you want to give up like this? Is it possible you might be able to wait this out for a few more weeks to see what develops? A lot of things can happen in the corporate world when a manager starts doing foolish things, like this one seems to have done.

If you are being encouraged to leave, waiting a bit longer may make them more willing to arrange something financially. If you leave quickly they won’t have time to consider a way to smooth the process.

If you are doing the excellent job you think you are doing, the promoted person won’t likely find anything to find fault with. But if he does, would it be fireable, after what you’ve done for the company?

What about your allies in the company–especially those you have helped the most? Would they not support you if necessary?

Clearly you and your boss had a conflict. She may feel you were trying to get her job. She may be resentful for some other reason. Or, it could be that your two styles didn’t mix and she would prefer to work with someone else.

You’re right I think, it that it sounds like this was a way to insulate her from you and/or put you in your place. It may be that there are issues going on you aren’t aware about. She may have promoted the other employee to have someone loyal to watch her back.

It likely is more complex than the basic picture indicates. However, it seems unlikely she could get corporate to agree to fire you unless she can show that your performance or behavior requires it. Absent that, she has to do what she has done…hope you leave on your own, minus your severance.

So, those are my suggestions: Talk to HR, either about the promotion–to question it. OR, abut what it would take to get a severance.

Or, stay and see what happens after a few months or at least a few more weeks. It seems to me that would be tolerable and might clear the way for the severance package you seek. Or, might make it a moot point if other changes are made.

I know you feel very badly now. I just don’t want it to push you to doing something too quickly. If you continue to be an asset for your company you will not only gain even more credibility but it will make the time go quicker and make this a bit easier to handle while you figure out what to do next.

Best wishes to you through this.

Tina Lewis Rowe